Wynberg Girls’ Annual Achievers’ Dinner – a union of elegance, celebration and success

Our annual Achievers’ Dinner was held at Simon’s at Groot Constantia on Thursday, 3 October, and what an occasion it was. From the first clicks of high-heeled shoes entering the warm and stylish venue, to the last  of happy, sleepy goodbyes, the evening was, quite simply, exquisite from start to finish.

The weather was on our side as the glowing sun gave way to the night, and with this the arrival of some of our most talented and dedicated students – glamorous and elegant as always.  Invites, promising a Masquerade theme, had been sent out a few weeks before to seniors who had been recognised as achievers in one or more of our four Pillars – Academics, Culture, Service or Sport. The staff, without whom no achievement would happen in the first place, were also invited, and it is worth noting that it wasn’t only the girls who had pulled out all the wardrobe stops!

Once the starter – a delicious salad – had been served, and the venue filled with loud chatter and a buzzing excitement, Mrs McEwen formally welcomed the girls, sincerely congratulating them on their various successes and reminding them of the belief the school had in them and their achievements.

It was then that past pupil Emma Bryce, who in her few years out of school has studied at both UCT and NYU, now working as a Environmental Sciences journalist and having written for The Guardian and the New York Times, took to the podium to deliver her speech as the keynote speaker. Her wise and refreshingly honest voice reminded us all that success should not have an end point, and that we should be open to life pulling us away from our self-determined path to ‘success’, to our real destinies, which perhaps lie off the beaten track. She reminded us that things may not always go according to plan, but that we should always trust ourselves and our instincts, and above all, never give up. She enlightened us with lessons learned from her own incredible life journey, and was inspiring in her clear humility. How exciting to think that a previous Wynberg Girls’ Web Committee Press Officer has worked for the New York Times!

Following Emma’s speech a gourmet dinner was served which was thoroughly enjoyed by all, and girls began taking photos with their teachers, their societies and their sports teams. Then it was for the highlight of the evening – the announcement of the 2013 Pillar Trophy Winners by Mrs Harding. The air was electric as Mrs Harding opened the envelopes containing the recipients’ names, and what can only be described as rapturous applause filled the house as Kate Bell and Laeeqa Allie were announced as winners of the Academic and Service Trophies respectively. But nothing could describe the noticeable awe in people’s eyes as Anna Jacobs was announced as winner of both the Sports and Culture Pillar Trophies. We extend a big congratulations to all of these deserving prizewinners!

By some miracle we still had space for dessert, which was a mouthwatering chocolate brownie and ice-cream combination. The remainder of the evening was spent by mingling with peers and teachers, taking yet more photographs, and celebrating with prize-winners, and as girls slowly filtered out the doors it was clear that the evening had been a remarkable success.

Hats off to Ms Windsor for her sterling efforts in organising the event – for the first time, too – and for ensuring it was so special for each and every girl. Thank you to Simon’s, for their outstanding catering services, and to everybody else involved.